Chapter The End of the Millennium

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  1. chefTENGU

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    Aiedo
    Chaz is sleeping soundly in his room, as anyone would expect. It's still very early in the morning. But Aiedo, the biggest city on Motavia, isn't known as "the fluid city" just for its canals and fountains, it's also a place where people are constantly coming and going, doing business of all sorts. Perhaps it's to be expected, with the Hunters' Guild based here.

    There's a loud knock at his door.


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    "Hey! Chaz, you gonna sleep all day? We've got a job!"

    Sounds like Alys just got back from the Guild.
     
  2. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    Chaz rolls over, reluctant to rise.

    "Can't it wait just a few more minutes?"
     
  3. chefTENGU

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    [​IMG]
    "Get your butt in gear before I come in there and start kicking it all the way to Piata!"

    Piata is home to the Motavia Academy, the center of all learning on the planet. Chaz has wanted to visit for as long as he can remember, but it's so far away.

    Looks like he might be able to combine pleasure with business on this trip.
     
  4. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    "R-right! Be right there!"

    He jumps up, and throws on the nearest outfit he can find. Ruffling his hair a bit into some messy semblance of style, he hurries to Alys.
     
  5. chefTENGU

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    Alys sounded angry through the door, but when Chaz opens it up, he sees that she's smiling.

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    "Took you long enough. Anyway, before we set out, there's something you should know. From now on, you're no longer my apprentice. You're my equal partner now, Chaz, so don't forget to act like it."
     
  6. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    "For... for real? That's great, I guess hard work does pay off!"

    Despite not wanting to get up, Chaz already seems energetic and ready to go as he's stretching his muscles.
     
  7. chefTENGU

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    Alys and Chaz head out of town, trying to make the most of the relatively cooler morning before the noonday sun makes travel too uncomfortable over Motavia's arid plains.

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    In recent months, everywhere they've gone has had a similar story to tell: too little rain, too much sand blowing into fields, too many monsters roaming the wilderness. Some only see opportunity, the chance to make a quick meseta off of their fellow men. Those with the imagination for it, though, wonder just what is causing such a surge in misery in all places at once.


    Motavia Academy, Piata
    Chaz is awestruck by the sight of the Academy. Piata is a large town by area, but its nature as a campus means that its population is younger, more thoughtful, and less numerous than that of Aiedo.

    Everywhere he looks, he sees something to marvel at: scientific apparatus, monuments and artworks (he notices a bust of someone known as Dr. Luveno, an ancient inventor, in the lobby), and everywhere people discussing current events and new findings. Alys harrumphs in annoyance as she urges him to keep up, but there's just so much to see.

    Chaz catches a bit of a lecture as he passes by a history classroom.


    "Now, you all remember that there were once three planets in our Algol system: Motavia and Dezolis, of course, but also Parma. Our ancestors used to possess the means to travel between them in celestial ships, but that was in the distant past.

    "Centuries ago, an explosion caused the destruction of planet Parma. We've yet to determine the exact nature of that disaster, but it had after-effects. For not long thereafter, a piece of the shattered planet crashed into Motavia, causing terrible destruction and loss of life and technology. This is the event known as 'The Great Collapse'..."

    Coming out of his reverie, Chaz suddenly realizes he's lost Alys and has no idea where he is or where she went.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  8. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    [​IMG]
    "Uh oh, she's going to be cranky that I lagged behind again."

    Chaz moves more urgently through the building, looking for where she might have gone.
     
  9. chefTENGU

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    Chaz searches the area, drawing a lot of looks from the students and faculty walking the halls. As he turns a corner he bumps into Alys.

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    "There you are. If you're done fooling around, we have work to do. We're supposed to be meeting the principal right now."
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  10. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    "Right, of course. There's just so much to learn here. I wish I could attend."
     
  11. chefTENGU

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    Alys leads Chaz to the principal's office, located far in the rear of the building.

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    "Ah, Alys Brangwin and her assistant Chaz. Thank you for responding to my posting."

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    "Excuse me, but Chaz is my partner. Now what is this about? Your message was two words: 'Just come'."

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    "Yes. You see, I am paying for your discretion as much as for your... lethal skills. Please understand, the Academy's reputation is at stake."

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    "Shouldn't be a problem, right, Chaz?"
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  12. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    "Not at all. This academy is amazing, I wouldn't do anything detrimental towards it. Just let us know what you need, and it'll be as good as done!"
     
  13. chefTENGU

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    "Quite. Then permit me to explain. About a month ago, creatures began appearing within the city walls, and even on the Academy grounds!

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    "We've tracked the source of this infestation to the basement, which of course I've ordered sealed off. You are to venture inside and clear out the problem, and inform me once the job is finished."

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    "Sure. But that's a really strange story... monsters don't usually come in to settlements, especially those with walls. Can you think of anything that might have drawn them in?"

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    "Don't be ridiculous! Of course I don't! Look, I am paying you --- quite handsomely, I may add --- to exterminate monsters, not ask questions. Now get to it!"

    With that, Alys and Chaz are brusquely dismissed from the office, and start heading downstairs.

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    "Anything about that conversation feel weird to you, Chaz?"
     
  14. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    "Totally. He's definitely not telling us everything. Part of me wants to look into it, the other part just wants to stick to the mission. Let's just check out the situation first, we'll probably learn what it is inevitably."
     
  15. chefTENGU

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    "I was thinking the same thing. Let's see what's lurking in the basement."

    After a few moments, Alys and Chaz arrive at the entrance to the basement stairwell. There's a young man in Academy garb loitering there.

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    "Hey, you guys look ready for a fight... are you really the hunters the principal hired?"

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    "What's the matter? Don't think we're up to the job? Get out of our way."

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    "N-no! Not at all! I mean... arrgh..." He loses and then regains his composure.

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    "My name is Hahn. I'm a junior member of the faculty here at the Academy. Please, hear me out..."
     
  16. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    "I'm sure we can spare a couple of minutes. What's up?"
     
  17. chefTENGU

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    [​IMG]
    "Thanks. I work for Professor Holt, who teaches in the archeology department. Recently, he headed up an expedition to a dig site in Birth Valley."

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    "I've heard of that place... it's a cave north of Zema. Apparently the locals hold it to be sacred."

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    "Indeed. Well, Professor Holt made some sort of tremendous discovery there, and brought back several crates of artifacts. The whole thing was very secret, even I was kept out of the loop. The crates were stored in the basement, and Professor Holt set out again to collect more. But he never came back...

    "Around the same time, the monsters started showing up in the basement. I'd bet anything there must be some sort of connection, but the principal won't even acknowledge the existence of the artifacts, or Professor Holt's disappearance!

    "I'm of a mind to investigate the basement myself, but I'm not exactly a combat expert, so..."

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    "...So you thought you'd wait for us to show up and tag along?"

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    "Well, in so many words... yes."

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    "100 Meseta! That's the price for a hunter escort."

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    "What? But the principal would never cover that expense, I'd have to pay out of my own pocket..."

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    "Nothing's for free. Now are you paying, or are you staying here?"

    He sighs and digs into his pockets to make the payment.
     
  18. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    "Maybe we should cut him some slack, considering he just gave us useful information relating to the hunt, don't you think? That's more than the principal could do."
     
  19. chefTENGU

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    Alys punches Chaz in the arm before she collects Hahn's payment.

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    "We can't eat if we don't get paid."

    Academy Basement
    Now three, the group heads downstairs. The basement is a mess. Shelves of old books and assorted odds and ends are all collecting dust in the darkness. There's a musty atmosphere, and old furniture strewn about seemingly at random.

    Hahn gasps as a group of monsters come into view. They are odd, looking like pulsating spherical organs walking around on spindly legs, thrashing out with antennae. They skitter toward the party and attack.
     
  20. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    "Nasty! Stay behind us, Hahn!"

    Chaz does what he does best.
     
  21. chefTENGU

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    The monsters aren't terribly powerful or threatening, more like vermin than anything else. As the hunt continues, the group finds more of the same.

    Until they venture into the deepest part of the basement. The room is crammed with strange machines with large glass tubes built into them. Each one has some sort living mass within it, something resembling the monsters that have been crawling around the basement.

    One of the tubes has been broken, its contents gone missing.
     
  22. Seegtease

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    "Are they... making monsters here?"
     
  23. chefTENGU

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    Before a more thorough examination can begin, a large monster comes slithering through the darkness toward the party.

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    "Chaz! Stay alert!"

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    The monster resembles a writhing mass of tentacles. An orifice near its midsection births a cluster of the walking heart-spheres as it closes in.
     
  24. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    "Okay, now this one is dangerous."

    Chaz focuses on taking out the spawns first.
     
  25. chefTENGU

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    Chaz and Alys go on the attack, and Hahn backs them up, getting in hits on the weakened creatures. Eventually, they all succeed in putting it down.

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    "You should up your training regimen, Chaz. Your swing was a tad slow."
     
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